As the upcoming weekend rears its wily head, many cash-strapped locals have resigned themselves to a frugal hibernation at home. Luckily, Westword is here to encourage penny-pinching readers to get off of the couch and out into Denver's arts and culture scene with a helpful weekly inventory of affordable entertainments. The days ahead offer a wide array of delights, from concerts and comedy shows to a martial arts demonstration and a hip-hop/anime mashup, all for less than ten American dollars. Keep reading for the ten best events in Denver this weekend for $10 and under, including seven with free admission.
Anythink Film Series: Martial Arts Demo and The Karate Kid
Thursday, August 16, 6:30 p.m.
Wax on, off and on again as Anythink Libraries' film series continues with 1984's The Karate Kid, a classic that must have spawned thousands of youthful dojo memberships. Outdoor movie screenings may be a dime a dozen during Denver's balmy summers, but Anythink offers a unique component to its free cinematic series: each screening is accompanied by an informative interactive element to contextualize the film-going experience. Tonight's screening hits viewers with a double-crane kick straight to the nostalgias, as it will be accompanied by a thrillingly quick-fisted live martial-arts demonstration. Visit Anythink Brighton's events calendar to find out more.
Underground Comedy Club: Deacon Gray
Thursday, August 16, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Park Hill Branch Library
Libraries are generally regarded as solemn temples of knowledge, quiet zones where any laughter must be stifled. Shuffle off that shushy paradigm when the Park Hill branch of the Denver Public Library morphs into the Underground Comedy Club for an evening that encourages each guest to guffaw loudly and proudly. Curated by comedy-loving librarian Tara Bannon Williamson, the series returns with headliner Deacon Gray. A 27-year veteran of the stage who's mentored successive generations of local comics in his role as Comedy Works' new talent coordinator, Gray has remained one of the sharpest joke-writers in the city even amid considerable health struggles. Admission is free; learn more on the Park Hill library's Facebook events page.
Musical Women Show and Social Hour: A Penchant for Piano
Friday, August 17, 6 to 9 p.m.
$5 to $10
A tuneful tribute to ivory-tickling songstresses, Mercury Cafe's Musical Women series kicks off with "A Penchant for Piano," an evening dedicated to singer-songwriter pianists. Enjoy heartfelt renditions of songs by genre pioneers such as Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Regina Spektor and Joni Mitchell, as well as original works from local musicians Whimsically Macabre, China Kent, Sarah Fridrich and Aural Elixir at this welcoming gathering of fans and music-industry professionals. Celebrate the achievements of women in music while deepening community bonds at a 6 p.m. social hour prior to the concert. Mercury's bar and kitchen will be open for business during the family-friendly event, and the show begins at 7 p.m. Suggested donations of $5 to $10 will be accepted at the door. Find out more on Mercury Cafe's Facebook events page.
Hush! x Funimation
Friday, August 17, 7 p.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
Attention, otakus and hip-hop heads: Punk-friendly bookstore Mutiny Information Cafe hosts a monthly event dedicated to your fandom intersection at Hush! x Funimation, a fusion of a traditional anime screening and hip-hop cypher. Kick back and enjoy the classic Funimation series (fan favorites include Tokyo Ghoul, Death Parade and Dragon Ball) or sign up to spit hot fire in a freestyle contest where winners can claim a limited-edition Funimation Anime Prize Pack along with bragging rights. Hosted by BROTH3R and JusChill Metz, Hush! x Funimation is a nerd's dream come true. Visit Mutiny Information Cafe's Facebook events page for more details.
Comedy Special Taping: Chris Porter
Friday, August 17, 7 and 9:30 p.m.
In a boon to local comedy nerds, either Chris Porter or his managers chose Englewood's Gothic Theatre as the venue to record the followup to his hit 2014 special, Ugly and Angry. Porter, who rose to national prominence as a finalist on the fourth season of Last Comic Standing, has maintained a rigorous touring schedule between appearances on shows like This Is Not Happening, The Arsenio Hall Show, Comedy Central Presents and Tommy Chong's Comedy @ 4:20. Catch an early glimpse of Porter's special and have your laughter recorded for posterity at one of two tapings, which start at 7 and 9:30 p.m., respectively. Admission is free. Visit Porter's BlacklistUS page to register for a seat.
Low-Sensory Morning at the Denver Art Museum
Saturday, August 18, 8:30 to 10 a.m.
Denver Art Museum
Free to $13
Exploring the wonders on display at the Denver Art Museum is a unique experience for everyone, but some visitors require a little more time and peace during their experience. That's why DAM presents its Low-Sensory Morning tours, which offer guests a quieter and less crowded chance to engage with art in the hours before the museum opens to the public. In addition to guided exhibit tours, Low-Sensory Morning patrons can also participate in hands-on creative projects. Registration is free, though space is necessarily limited; admission is free for children and DAM members and $8 to $13 for everyone else. Visit the Denver Art Museum's JotForm page to register.
Hot August Nights: An Open Screen Night Showcase
Saturday, August 18, 7 p.m.
Denver Open Media
The future home of Sexpot Comedy's Telematic Universe, Denver Open Media has grand designs and great expectations for the upcoming months. However, the studio at 700 Kalamath remains a steadfast resource for local filmmakers, a relationship celebrated and sanctified by Hot August Nights: An Open Screen Night Showcase. Join a gaggle of local creatives in DOM's Studio A for a screening of classic Open Screen Night shorts accompanied by complimentary pizza, beer and coffee, plus musical tributes to Neil Diamond. Eager for an early start to the festivities? Head to DOM at 3 p.m. for the 2018 Member Shindig. Admission is free; visit Denver Open Media's Facebook events page to learn more.
Opera in the Park: Highlights of La Bohème
Saturday, August 18, 7 p.m.
Boulderites enjoy considerably more than their fair share of outdoor theater in the summertime, a tradition enriched by the Boulder Opera Company's Opera in the Park series. Saturday's al fresco concert presents the abridged highlights of La Bohème, Giacomo Puccini's tragic tale of starving artists that became a standard of the Italian operatic repertoire. Admission is free, but guests can reserve picnic baskets stocked with wine bottles, Boulder beer and charcuterie for $75 to $100. Visit the Boulder Opera Company events calendar to learn more.
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Paul Thorn and Blind Boys of Alabama
Sunday, August 19, 4 to 8 p.m.
Sunday, August 19, is apparently living-legends night at Levitt Pavilion, where the Grammy Award-winning gospelers Blind Boys of Alabama will share the stage with "Southern roots raconteur" Paul Thorn and his skilled quintet. A unique fusion of genres and generations, Paul Thorn and the Blind Boys of Alabama offer one of Levitt's free summer concert series' sweetest deals yet. Admission is free, and VIP tickets are available for $30. Visit Levitt Pavilion's Eventbrite page to register and learn more.
Comedy Showcase Featuring Al Jackson
Sunday, August 19, 8:30 p.m.
Thanks to a demanding touring schedule, Al Jackson has delighted scores of local comedy fans, few of whom know that he actually lives here now. Jackson will be laying hilarious waste to one of the city's swankiest stages when he headlines the new(ish) comedy showcase at Denver jazz mainstay Dazzle. Hosted and curated by fledgling standup Orin Be (who also runs the Monday night open mic at Irish Rover), the show will include opening sets from local comics Michael Isaacs, Wes Williams, Ben Duncan, Evan Johnson and Meghan DePonceau. Admission is $7, and the venue suggests a two-drink minimum per guest. Trust us, it'll make the comedy better. Visit Dazzle's events calendar for links to buy tickets and more information.
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